Monday 26 March 2012

Pondering the Probert Professional Puzzle Part 2

This post continues from Part 1 and looks at another performance aspect of EPL Referee Lee Probert. Namely, what is he looking at?

The following incidents occurred during the EPL match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic on Tuesday 31 January 2012. The match finished 3—1.

Incident One What is Probert Looking at?

We have already seen this incident of serious foul play in a previous post. But here is a perspective that shows Probert's position and his 'unheightened' or 'uninterested' take of the unfolding situation. Here are the freeze frames:
Referee Lee Probert appears to take his time and amble over to see what is the matter

Probert taking a closer look at the injured player

Question: What is Probert looking at?

Incident Two What is Probert Looking at?

This incident is a typical example of Probert's overall match performance. As Spurs (white) collect the ball from their own penalty area and look to push forward, what is Probert looking at? Here are the freeze frames:

Looking at the above freeze frames, it is simply quite incredible to see a professional Referee perform like this. In this sequence where the ball is moving from one half of the field to the other half, Probert has not taken his eye off the ball for one moment.

What would happen if a Wigan (blue) defender had fouled the Spurs attacker (or how about the reverse, whereby the Spurs attacker had fouled a Wigan defender)? And in such a scenario would the AR help Probert? Had a foul occurred, it is highly unlikely that Referee Probert would have spotted any foul play.

Also, this is a good time to recommend an excellent post titled What is the referee looking at? from the wonderful blog For the Integrity of Soccer, which is compiled by the highly-respected 'diamond' duo of Robert Evans and Edward Bellion (or Bob and Ed, as they like to be called).

In that particular post, Bob Evans masterfully uses the example of a talented 7-year-old player to illustrate the importance of having vision and looking ahead. He cleverly asks: "Could this technique exhibited by a seven-year-old player be used by referees?"

Bob and Ed's blog is a treasure trove full of pearls of wisdom and nuggets of useful information about the Art of Refereeing. They are also 'diamond geezers' to boot!

To coin a cliche, Probert just appears to be looking but not seeing.

In many of the recent analyses this blog has made about Lee Probert, he appears to just be looking at the ball.

Probert doesn't appear to be looking at the perspective surrounding the vicinity of the ball (i.e. the surrounding players) or the perspective beyond the ball (i.e. in the space where the player intends to play the ball). He appears to just be entirely focused looking at the ball (as demonstrated in Incident Two).

This conclusion may help explain why Lee Probert's performances this season (i.e. here and here) have been noticeably poor.

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